In December 2019, mid-Covid quarantine, the kids and I were having a very difficult time. I am a single mother of two kids that I have raised largely alone since ages one and four (now 16 and 19). Like everyone, we experienced a lot of loss over the many months of Covid. We were lucky enough that it wasn’t loss of people we love or of income; but there were many secondary losses including a prom, a high school graduation, vacations, plays, concerts, human contact, a significant relationship, a year of high school, and a first semester of college. Solution? A KITTEN! Pretty tall shoes for a 2 pound kitten to fill, but if anyone could do it, it was Rat! Rat, originally named Mae, came to us from CARE. She was re-named, in part, for her gray color. She is beautiful and full of life, and she has brought us so much joy every day. Our 8 year old cat, Cookie, was a skeptic initially — she hadn’t seen a kitten since she was one — but even Cookie is playing more, has lost some weight, and seems to be enjoying life more. Winchester-Seamus, a 7 year old, 80 pound black lab, has been thoroughly put in his place. Size is no object for Rat, who will defend her sister and her food with great ferocity (as much ferocity as a kitten can muster, anyway — but it is funny to the humans and does the job of keeping the dog away!) But with as much ferocity as she shows toward the dog, she shows love and affection to the people. She follows me down to the kitchen to make my coffee in the morning, and she sits under my chair while I work. At night, she crawls into the crook in my arms and sleeps there. She is dedicated to the kids and me, and I am every bit as dedicated to her. She is always ready when she hears the drawer that holds the laser pointer open. She will play with any toy. She has recently taken to carrying a dollar bill around in her mouth, and nothing makes her happier than being able to push a pink highlighter around. Nothing, except maybe the people that she loves. In the fall, one of the children will be at college and the other in boarding school in Vermont. For the first time, I will be an empty nester, except for my fur babies. The decision to get Rat, which felt somewhat ill-advised but irresistible at the time, has turned out to be one of my best decisions ever.